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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

Avyan 14. Of the four oxen
(Perry 372)

Men oughte not to breke his feythe ageynste his good Frend / ne to leue his felauship / as hit appiereth by this fable / of four oxen whiche to gyder were in a fair medowe / And by cause that euer they were and kept them to gyder / none other beest durste not assaylle them / and also the lyon dradde them moche / the whiche lyon on a daye came to them / And by his deceyuable wordes thoughte for to begyle them / & to rauysshe & take them the better / maade them to be separed eche one fro other / And whanne they were separed / the lyon wente / and tooke one of them / And whan the lyon wold haue strangled hym / the oxe sayd to hym / godsep / He is a foole / whiche byleueth fals and deceyuable wordes And leueth the felawship of his good frende / For yf we had ben euer to gyder / thow haddest not taken me /
And therfore he whiche is / and standeth wel sure / ought to kepe hym soo that he falle not / For he whiche is wel / meue not hym self

Caxton published his edition of Aesop's fables in 1484. There are modern reprints by Joseph Jacobs (D. Nutt: London, 1889) and more recently by Robert Lenaghan (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1967). Lenaghan's edition is available at amazon.com.